December 16, 2015

For immediate release

 

Ottawa, December 16, 2015 – Today Senator Thanh Hai Ngo issued the following statement:

“On Monday, December 14, 2015, musician Minh Tri Vo, also known as Viet Khang, was discharged from prison after serving four years for writing and posting two famous songs: “Where is my Vietnam?” and “Who are you?”

“I congratulate the Vietnamese authorities for listening to the call of the international community asking for the release of Minh Tri Vo from prison. However, the Vietnamese authorities should also immediately secure his full pardon and cancel the two years of house arrest left in his sentence.”

“The same full amnesty should also be granted to songwriter Tran Anh Binh, Father Nguyen Van Ly, Mr. Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Ms. Do Thi Minh Anh, Mr. Nguyen Quang Lap, Mr. Doan Huy Chuong and Ms. Bui Thi Minh Hang, who have also been sentenced to prison for voicing their opinion.

“Vietnam must cease to suppress freedom of expression online, in print and through public demonstrations. The state enacted Decree 174 to institute harsh new penalties for certain types of speech in blogs and social media, expanding upon government powers to censor Internet and social media usage in place under a previous decree. Since its enactment many high profile Internet writers and bloggers have been arrested, while the trials of other prominent activists proceeded despite international pressure for their release.

“Freedom House, an independent organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world, rates Vietnam as ‘not free’, giving the country an overall freedom rating of 6 (with 7 being the worst), a civil liberties rating of 5 and a political rights rating of 7.”

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For more information on the human rights situation in Vietnam please consult:

Senator Thanh Hai Ngo’s Office

ThanhHai.Ngo@sen.parl.gc.ca

613-943-1599